Monday, August 31, 2009
The player back to receive the ball starts waving his hand in the air over his head.
That is the signal for a "fair catch." Once a player waves his hand over his head, he is saying that he just wants to catch the ball and will not run with it when he does. The kicking team is not allowed to touch him (or it will be a penalty).
If he catches it: His team gets the ball right where he caught it and no players from the other team are allowed to try to tackle him.
If he drops it (and he has touched the ball): either team can recover the ball for their team.
If he doesn't touch the ball and misses it: Then it's like he never signaled for the fair catch. If his team recovers it, they can try to run with it (and the other team can try to tackle him). If the kicking team recovers it, then the next play (for the receiving team) will start wherever the kicking team touched the ball.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
When a team is on offense and they get to the 20-yard line closest to the end zone where they're trying to score, that is the Red Zone (from the 20 to the end zone).
You'll hear TV announcers talk about a team's "Red Zone Scoring" or the percentages of times they score (touchdown, field goal, or no score) once they've made it to the Red Zone.
Side note: We like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In their stadium, they have a huge pirate ship. Whenever the Bucs make it to the Red Zone, they fire the canons from the pirate ship one time. (When they score, the canons fire one time for each point scored.) It's awesome and LOUD - especially when you're in the stadium!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
After each quarter, the teams switch direction they are going to get to the end zone (when they are offense).
- 1st quarter, when your team is trying to score, they are heading towards the right on your TV.
- 2nd quarter, they're heading left on your TV when they try to score.
- 3rd quarter (start of the 2nd half), they're heading right again.
- 4th quarter - back to the left.
Or maybe it's just to confuse us a little bit more.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
When a ruling gets challenged, the referee watches the play using instant replay (to see if the right call was made or if they messed up).
After reviewing the play, the call will either get overturned (which is what the coach wanted) or it will stand as called. To overturn a ruling, there has to be "indisputable visual evidence" - which means it has to clearly show on the replays. The officials get the same replays that the TV channel broadcasts - so if YOU can't see it clearly, the official can't either. Sometimes, you'll wish there was a better angle - but it is still determined by what is actually SHOWN on the replay.
Each coach gets 2 challenges per game.
If the coach WINS the challenge (and gets the ruling overturned), he is not charged a timeout. If he wins two challenges in the game, then he earns a 3rd red flag for later (if he needs it).
If the coach loses the challenge (and the ruling stands as called), then the team loses a timeout (because - let's face it, the game stopped). So, a team has to have a timeout left in order to use their challenge.
During the last 2 minutes of each half, coaches cannot challenge a play. During that time, plays can still be reviewed, but it has to be a "booth review" - which means the officials in the viewing booth want the field officials to look at the replay.
Not all plays are reviewable though, so if the coach challenges an un-reviewable play, then the ref tells him he can't challenge and the game goes on (and the coach is not charged a challenge or a timeout).
Monday, August 24, 2009
Just in case you were wondering...
Sunday, August 23, 2009
To know if he is officially down, they look for an elbow or knee (or butt) to touch the ground. If just his hand hits the ground, he's not considered down and can keep moving the ball.
Sometimes, the player with the ball will fall on top of a player from the other team. If his knee or elbow or butt doesn't touch the ground, he can keep going!
You will see these kind of plays reviewed or challenged too - that's when they're looking to see if someone on the other team touched him (sometimes it's just a whiff and no contact was made) and if his knee/elbow/butt actually touched the ground.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
- A timeout is called (duh, right?)
- The person with the ball runs out of bounds (this is important when there's not much time left in the half)
- There's an injured player on the field (although sometimes the team has to use a timeout then too - it depends)
- The red challenge flag is thrown by a coach (which means the referees review the previous play to see if the decision needs to be changed)
- It is the 2-minute warning (this is at the end of the 2nd and 4th quarters)
- Change of possession (interception, score, punt, etc.)
Sometimes you won't realize the clock stopped because they'll switch to a TV commercial.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It doesn't matter - it's called "forward progress" - so as far forward as the ball progressed, that's where the next play will start!
Sometimes on the TV replays, you'll see them zooming in on the ball to figure out how far forward progress took it (especially important when the team only needed to go a short distance).
SIDENOTE FROM TODAY...
Quarterback Brett Favre (pronounced like FARVE but that's not how it's spelled) came out of retirement (again) and signed with the Minnesota Vikings. This is important for various reasons including: Favre played for the Green Bay Packers for most of his career and they are rivals of the Vikings; also Favre is an older player so it is a question to how well he'll actually play; and also he will be starting in the preseason game on Friday. If you want to know more, turn on ESPN or NFL Network (or visit their websites), they'll all be talking about it.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
- Catch the ball and run it. He can try to run it as far as possible (while the other players try to tackle him to make him stop).
- Waive his hand above his head in the air to signal a "fair catch". This means he is going to catch the ball, but he can't run with it and the other team can't hit him. However, if he drops the ball, then it is anyone's ball and either team can get possession of the ball by being the ones to grab it and hold on to it.
- Let the ball bounce and not try to catch it. Then, wherever the ball stops bouncing/rolling, that is where the next play will start. Or, if the kicking team touches the ball, that's where the ball is "dead" and that's where the next play will start.
If the kicker kicks the ball all the way into the endzone and the player doesn't try to catch it and run (or if he catches it and "takes a knee"/kneels while holding the ball, then it is considered a "touchback" and the next play will start at the 20-yard line).
On a kickoff, if the kicker kicks the ball out-of-bounds on the sidelines, then the ball automatically starts at the 40-yard line! So those kickers are pretty careful to kick the ball straight down the field...
Friday, August 14, 2009
I also think many wives get frustrated by their husband's lack of communication. Sample conversation:
Wife: Hi honey! How was your day?
To the husband, the conversation is now over. To the wife, she's starving for more information - details, stories, anything!
Well, get him talking about football and his language skills will drastically improve!
Last night, I asked my husband a football-related question. The answer went on for about 10 minutes! Now, you have to understand that I usually talk circles around my husband, but when it comes to football, he literally lights up when he gets to talk about it and he will go on and on and on. Not bragging about what he knows - just glad to get to process it aloud with someone! And sure, he might get the chance to talk to "the guys" at work about it, but he still gets such joy talking to me and sharing this passion. If for nothing else, that connection with my husband is worth the time and effort I spend focusing on football.
It might not be what the wife wants to talk about (or listen to), but if it's so important to your husband, you can learn something about it or probably fake some interest for a while...
Thursday, August 13, 2009
When it's 4th down, the team has to choose what to do...
- They can go for it and try to get the 1st down. The team runs a play to try to get the ball past the first down line. If they succeed, they get a new set of downs (4 more tries). The problem is that if they don't move the ball far enough (past the first down line), the other team gets the ball wherever they stop. So, this is a risky option - teams usually "go for it" when they don't have too far to go (like "4th and inches") or it is a close game and the game is almost over and they need to score.
- They can kick a field goal. Of course, this means they need to be close enough to the goalposts that their kicker can kick the ball between the posts at the end of the field (the goal posts). A field goal typically becomes a viable option when the team is about 30 yards from the endzone (the 0 line) or closer. If they make the field goal and the ball goes between the posts, they get 3 points. If they miss, the other team gets the ball wherever it was before they attempted the kick. (You will also see field goal attempts when there are only a few seconds left in the 2nd or 4th quarter, since if they miss, the other team won't get the ball.)
- They can punt the ball. This means that they kick the ball towards the endzone and the other team then gets to catch it, run it as far as they can, and take over on offense (and try to score themselves). This is choice you'll see most of the time, because it puts the other team further back than the other 2 choices.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
If a team is successful and moves the ball at least 10 yards in 4 downs, then they get "another set of downs", which means they get 4 more tries.
When you watch football on TV, there are usually 2 digitally-added lines that help you out:
- the line of scrimmage - this is where the ball starts. The team has to move the ball at least 10 yards from the line of scrimmage in 4 downs. When you see the guys all line up and one guy has his hand on the ball - the ball is actually on the line of scrimmage.
- the first down line - this is the line the TV station adds to show you how far the ball has to go for the team to earn a first d0wn (and 4 more tries to keep moving the ball). It's great having this line on the TV screen and it makes it easy for you to know if the player made it as far as they needed to!
Some examples of how you will hear this on TV: (it is always stated as: which down is it and how far do they have to move the ball to earn a first down)
- First (down) and 10 (yards to go) - this means it is the first down/try and the team has 10 yards to go to earn more downs (the first-down line on tv will be 10 yards away from where the teams line up)
- Second and 7 - it is the second down and the team has to go 7 yards (the first-down line will be 7 yards away from where the teams line up)
- Third and inches - it is the third down and there are only inches to go for the team to earn a first down
- Second and 15 - sometimes, due to penalties or where the ball ends up, teams may have MORE than 10 yards to get to the first-down line.
Next post - Fourth down and what happens then.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I didn't see the game at all, but my football-lover saved the recording just to show me this play - because it is so awesome. Sure, there are the occasional trick plays in the NFL, but that doesn't make them any less amazing!
Monday, August 10, 2009
By the numbers:
- 4 quarters per game - broken down into 2 halves with 2 quarters each
- 15 minutes per quarter (although it takes more like 40 minutes to play because the clock stops for various reasons)
- 11 players on the field at a time from each team
- 53 = the number of players a team can keep throughout the season (with a few exceptions that are too tricky to explain here)
Each game starts with a coin toss. The team that wins gets to choose if they want to kick the ball to the other team (putting the coin-toss winners on defense first) or if they want to receive the ball (putting the coin-toss winners on offense first). Whatever the coin-toss winners choose, the opposite is how the second half will start. (So, if the coin-toss winners choose to receive the ball in the first half, then they will start the second half by kicking the ball to the other team.) (*note: the coin-toss winner can also DEFER their choice to the second half, letting the other team choose for the first half, but you don't see that too often.)
The pre-season games are going to be going on for the next few weeks. This is a good time to try to watch football with your football-lover, and here's why:
- Pre-season games don't really matter in the grand scheme of things, so there is less pressure on the players and their fanatical fans. It's basically when the players are fighting for their spot on the team or to become a starter (starter = the person who plays the position at the start of a game - usually the better person who plays that position)
- Since the games don't matter (really), your football-lover might be more willing to pause the game and explain things to you (that's the ideal, right?).
- After watching some pre-season games, you will undoubtedly have more questions (that you can ask on here and I can try to help!)
If you are not used to watching complete football games, I would suggest:
- Watch the start of the game (known as "the kickoff") - and keep watching at least until 4-5 minutes have gone by on the clock. This will give you a good grasp of what goes on.
- Then, you can tune out (or fast forward)
- Watch the start of the second half - it's just like the kickoff, so you'll be used to what you're watching (and watch 4-5 minutes of game clock time, not real life time)
- Tune out or fast forward
- Watch the last 3-4 minutes of time in the 4th quarter. That way, you'll see which team wins and see how a game ends.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Myth: You need to know about all of them.
Fact: Start by learning which team your football-lover loves - learn the name and the city.
Example: My football-lover loves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
What about yours?
The idea for this blog is to help other wives/girlfriends/significant others who love someone who loves football. The NFL is too big of a concept to understand all at once and the game is complicated and hard to follow at times - but in the end, it's worth it.
I am fortunate that my husband is a patient teacher and loves to share his football knowledge with me in a non-condescending way. Without him, football would scare and intimidate me. But it doesn't and I have learned to love the game on my own.
So, maybe I can help you understand the basics in a new way - and you can use that knowledge to impress the football-lover in your life! (When I spout off football info to my husband, I tell him he better acknowledge how impressed he is because I only learn it for him! Let's face it - there is definitely more important things I would rather be doing than skimming football sites and listening to the NFL Network!)